So I finally bought some fresh pandan leaves a couple of days ago, and the first thing I made was pandan kaya. Kaya is a coconut curd that’s popular in Malaysia and Singapore. There are actually two types of kaya. There’s the brown-coloured caramel kaya, which is made of coconut milk, eggs and caramelized sugar, and then there’s pandan kaya, which blends in pandan leaves to give it a jade green colour and a sweet, vanilla-like aroma.
I’ve made caramel kaya a number of times, but this was my first time making the pandan-flavoured version. The recipe I used for pandan kaya is based on this caramel kaya recipe, using the exact same ingredients and amounts, only with the addition of pandan-infused coconut milk. However, I thought it was too sweet, so I have reduced the amount of sugar in my recipe to 200g (Update: I tried it with 175g sugar and it was still good!). Other than that, this pandan kaya is fragrant and delicious! I just love the all-natural colour!
For those of you who’ve made lemon curd, you’ll notice that the method for kaya is essentially the same. You cook the mixture of eggs, sugar and liquid in a double boiler until it thickens. The only difference is that for kaya, you’re using coconut milk instead of lemon juice.
Once you’ve prepared the kaya, you have to make kaya toast! It’s a traditional breakfast staple (usually eaten along with a couple of soft-boiled eggs drizzled with soy sauce and a dash of white pepper) in kopitiams in Malaysia and Singapore. Kaya toast is a sandwich made of toasted slices of bread, slathered with kaya and a thin slab of butter in between. It’s the Malaysian/Singaporean answer to the American “PB & J” – peanut butter and jelly (jam) – sandwich!
Did you make this recipe?
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(Recipe adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover)
PANDAN KAYA (COCONUT CURD) (Makes 500 ml)
3 large eggs
200g sugar (use 175g if you want it even less sweet)
350ml coconut milk
8 pandan leaves, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) sections
1. Fill bottom pot of double boiler halfway with water. Place on high heat and bring to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, blend cut-up pandan leaves and coconut milk in a blender. Strain into the top pot of the double boiler and discard the pulp.
3. Add eggs and sugar to the coconut milk.
4. Once water boils, turn heat down to low and place the top pot on top of the simmering water. Using a whisk, beat the eggs and stir the mixture well, then continue whisking until the mixture thickens (make sure to whisk continuously to prevent the eggs from curdling). The kaya is ready when it coats the back of a spoon, and if you run your finger (be careful, it’s hot!) across the spoon, it leaves a clear trail (it took me about 30 minutes to reach the desired consistency).
5. Strain the kaya using a fine mesh sieve to get rid of any lumps/pieces of cooked egg.
6. If the kaya is still a bit grainy, transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer and, using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed for about 5 minutes. This will result in a silky smooth kaya, and also help to cool it down.
7. Pour kaya into glass jars and store in the refrigerator.
Note: Based on my experience, kaya can keep for at least 3 weeks in the fridge. If you don’t have a double boiler, just use two pots, one slightly bigger than the other. The bigger pot should be able to sit on top of the smaller pot without touching the water.
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